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Optics: when are images virtual and when are they real?

  1. Oct 25, 2011 #1
    sorry, no specific homework question, although it is related to my homework in general. I dont understand what makes an image real or virtual.

    thanks for the help :)

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2011 #2


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    Homework Helper

    See this video for a virtual image:


    The real images really exist. The virtual image exist in the brain of the observer.

    More seriously: In case of real image, the rays emerging from a point of an object become convergent after passing the imaging system (mirror or lens) and intersect in the same point: at the image of the object.
    In case of virtual image the rays emerging from a point of the object are divergent after leaving the lens or mirror. The divergent rays arrive to the eye and the brain interprets them as coming from a common point - from the image. But this common point does not exist in reality.

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